A local entrepreneur gets up close and personal with high-performance clothing line
When Torey Spink goes out, he doesn't wear underwear — he wears underwear technology.
Polypropylene. Polyester. Lycra. Spandex. Polar Fleece. All the high-performance material you need to keep Jack Frost at a comfortable distance when spending a day in the elements.
Three years ago, after spending another cold afternoon strapped to his snowboard, Spink saw an opportunity to heat things up a notch. While there were many companies manufacturing high-performance undergarments for winter activities, Burton was the only company with a dedicated layering system for snowboarders. And while Spink admits that the thermal underwear that was available is generally of excellent quality, he saw room for improvement in both price and performance.
After years spent researching materials and manufacturers, and talking to pro riders, Whistler-based November Apparel Incorporated was born. A true “Made in Canada” product, the clothes are designed by November and manufactured in Nova Scotia by a company that owns exclusive rights to a PolarTherm, a new Lyrca/polypropylene “four-way-stretch” hybrid featured in November undergarments.
"I think we can say that our undergarments are second-to-none in the industry," says Spink. "Everything we make is at least as good, if not better than our competitors'."
On Jan. 15th, Spink is launching the November label around the world, and more than 70 retailers in B.C. have already signed on.
Finding distributors for November was a snap, says Spink, who is no stranger to the snowboard industry — he’s the man behind GMC (Grease Monkey Corp.) gloves and a former representative for Bakoda. By the time November was ready to ship, he already had a distribution network of reps, buyers and retailers in place.
"These are people I've known for years through GMC, who believe in the product and in the marketing," says Spink. "November is a cool name, and we are fortunate to have such a great product to back it up."
Another ace up November's polypro sleeve is the group of pro riders who have agreed to wear and promote the November label. November "team" members include Devun Walsh, Kevin Sansalone, J.P. Walker, Josh Dirksen, Chris Dufficy, Stacey Burke, Roberta Roger and Ben and Justin Davies, two up and coming riders from Pemberton.
One pro rider, who Spink would not identify, gave November the thumbs up after he spent New Year's Eve passed out in the snow in one-piece November thermal underwear.
"These pro riders originally tried our stuff out as a favour to me and now they're wearing it because they want to wear it," says Spink. "They're not getting paid, it's what they want next to their skin."
One November product that is expected to move is a special thermal sock that Spink and all of his pros are saying is the "driest, warmest sock that any of us have ever worn."
For the first season, November will only offer first layer clothing, but Spink is planning to expand production next year to include second and fleece layers, plus "casual" layers such as T-shirts.
Spink is also planning to expand November's marketing focus outside of the snowboarding world to include other winter sports.
"As a company we're still in our infancy, but with our product and team on board, the sky is the limit," says Spink.